Poll shows most Thais still oppose foreign arrivals

PHOTO: New Straits Times

A recent survey carried out by the National Institute of Development Administration, or Nida Poll, shows that a majority of Thais still oppose opening the country to foreigners, even if they’re not infected with Covid-19, saying the global coronavirus situation is still very serious. The poll was conducted on July 6-8 on 1,251 people aged 18 and over, of various education levels and occupations throughout the country.

A “medical and wellness” program would open the country to foreigners who test negative for Covid-19 to receive medical treatment. They would undergo a mandatory 14 day quarantine before being allowed to return to their home countries.

A majority or respondents – 55.3% – disagreed with the program. Of those, 41.4% strongly disagreed, saying those admitted could be asymptomatic carriers and cause a second wave of infections, while Thailand already has many infections imported by Thais returning from abroad. Another 13.9% said they disagreed because the situation does not yet warrant allowing foreigners in, even if they have health certificates.

On the other hand, 23.1% agreed with the program, saying it would enhance the reputation of Thai medical facilities and spur the economy; and 21.6% moderately agreed, reasoning that measures taken by Thailand have proven effective against the spread of the virus.

A second proposed program would allow those foreigners admitted for medical treatment to travel around Thailand after undergoing a 14 day quarantine. 37.9% respondents strongly opposed this and and wanted Covid-19 to be 100% eradicated first because they have no confidence in the 14 day quarantine, while 14.5% disagreed with it, although less strongly, for fear of a second wave, since Covid-19 was originally imported by foreigners.

Conversely, 24.1% strongly supported the program, saying it would help rehabilitate tourism and stimulate the economy, while another 23.3% said they somewhat agreed with it for showing confidence in Thai medical services. The rest had no comment or were not interested.

Asked about the travel bubble program that would allow foreigners from virus-free countries to visit, a majority – 54.4% – agreed with it. Of them, 25.9% strongly agreed, saying it would help spur the economy and revitalise the airline industry.

On the other side, 29.6% strongly opposed the program.

When asked whether they were confident the government could contain the spread of the virus if foreigners are allowed into the country under these programmes, 59.6% were not confident, while 39.3% were.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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